Journalist and helicopter pilot Lauren Sánchez was once rejected as a flight attendant by Southwest Airlines for weighing too much.
In a new interview with WSJ Magazine, Sánchez, 53, shared that she didn't make the cut for Southwest's weight limitations back in 1989.
After leaving home at age 18, Sánchez, who is currently in a relationship with Amazon's Jeff Bezos, moved to Los Angeles in the hopes of becoming a flight attendant. However, Southwest Airlines told her she weighed too much to work for them.
“Back then, they weighed you, and I weighed 121 pounds,” Sánchez explained to the WSJ. “They said, ‘You need to be 115.’”
While Sánchez's incident occurred back in 1989, Southwest's rules have changed since then. On their current prospective flight attendant careers page, the airline requests that prospective job candidates meet certain specificities, including a minimum age of 20 years old and a "well-groomed appearance."
"Weight must be of such proportion to height that a neat appearance is maintained and the physical ability to perform all job functions is not hindered," the website reads. Attendants also must also be able to "lift 50 lbs. to shoulder height among other physical qualifications."
Looking back, Sánchez says she knows what she would tell the airline these days if she were rejected: “I don’t want to be a stewardess. I want to be the pilot!”
While Sánchez was seeking out a role as a flight attendant, it's not uncommon for women to face criticism over their weight when seeking out jobs in Hollywood and beyond. Jennifer Lawrence previously was asked to lose 10 pounds for her role as Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. However, she refused to do so.
“Those books were huge, and I knew that the audience was children. I remember the biggest conversation was, ‘How much weight are you going to lose?'” she told Viola Davis during Variety’s Actors on Actors series. “Along with me being young and growing and not able to be on a diet, I don’t know if I want all of the girls who are going to dress up as Katniss to feel like they can’t because they’re not a certain weight. And I can’t let that seep into my brain either.”
Following her rejection from Southwest Airlines, Sánchez went on to a lengthy career in journalism, while also becoming a seasoned helicopter pilot who still tries to fly at least three times per week. She also spends a significant amount of time with Bezos, who officially split from his wife of 25 years, Mackenzie, back in 2019. In January of that year, it was revealed he was in a relationship with Sánchez, who at the time was married to Patrick Whitesell, executive chairman of the entertainment agency William Morris Endeavor.
These days, the couple, who have seven children between the two of them, are learning to function with a blended family. Sánchez has nothing but raves for her man, whom she calls "goofy" and says he "makes me laugh all the time."
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